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A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy
Inside A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy

Show Me The Awesome Week 5

For those readers who are new to the blog or to Show Me The Awesome:

showmetheawesome2 500x400 Show Me The Awesome Week 5Show Me The Awesome: 30 Days of Self-Promotion is being co-hosted by Sophie Brookover, Kelly Jensen & myself for people in library land to share the things they’ve done. It can be about promoting something specific, or about how to promote, or why to promote.

The image for Show Me The Awesome is courtesy of John LeMasney via lemasney.com; and if you’re using the image with your post, please remember to give John credit.

We are using the hashtag #30awesome on Twitter and Tumblr.

This is now the final week of Show Me The Awesome!

Want a taste of what was said in Show Me The Awesome in prior weeks?

A round up of Week One’s Show Me The Awesome.

A round up of Week Two’s Show Me The Awesome.

A round up of Week Three’s Show Me The Awesome.

A round up of Week Four’s Show Me The Awesome.

Because I’m at BEA for the week, there may be some delays in adding this week’s contributors. Don’t worry, I’ll be tweeting the posts and will add them to here by next Sunday at the latest!

Next week, I’ll have a concluding post about Show Me The Awesome!

Strategic Planning at Books, Yarn, Ink and Other Pursuits (added 5/27): “I knew that one of my goals was to implement a new strategic plan. The last plan was woefully out of date–about ten years–and the library had gone through many changes since it was written, including automation. Needless to say, serving on a committee and being the person who is actually responsible for forming that committee are two different things. I believe that the public library should be an anchor in the community; to make sure that happens, we need key community members to help create a strategic plan. This means not only people involved with the library directly, like board members or wonderful patrons who use the library every day, but also people who may not step through our doors, but are in and out of doors throughout the city.”

Making a Digital Impact With Timeline JS at The Undercover Shelf (added 5/27): “My somewhat official title is Cataloging and Metadata Librarian. Yes, this means I work with the Dewey Decimal System and Library of Congress Subject Headings on a daily basis, but that’s only part of my job. Most librarians wear at least a few different hats (I prefer a cloche or a beanie), and so the other part of my job is working with uploading digital archival images (photographs, maps, books, architectural drawings, postcards, etc.) and metadata to my library’s website through CONTENTdm (which is a digital collection management system/software). Recently, I wanted to come up with a may to make this content more interactive and meaningful. Thankfully, I attended a conference where another librarian presented about Timeline JS, and a lightbulb went off for me: we had so many images already online that were perfect for this format! So I gave Timeline JS a try and found it to be really easy and fun to use.

Show Me The Awesome at The Unpretentious Librarian (added 5/27): “As many know, AWESOME libraries are all about collaboration and relationships. I was able to spend the past year developing and cultivating both. Through faculty book clubs, hosting meetings, frequent programming, mini technology projects, and more the library program thrived as a busy hub for the entire school in my debut year at a new position.”

Creating a Teen Blog for the Library at Reading Everywhere (added 5/27): “I recruited interested teens by reaching out to local schools and teen organizations, working with the City’s public information specialist to issue a press release that got picked up by local media, and marketing within the library. I hosted a brainstorming meeting to introduce the blogging project to the teens and solicit their input about its content, look, and feel. Over the next few months, I worked with the teens virtually to collect content for the blog, worked with a graphic designer (the amazing Elle Cardenas!) to develop a sharp, professional aesthetic that exudes youthful energy, and consulted with other departments in my organization to make sure the teen blog would support the mission and vision of my library and the City. One of the reasons my library didn’t have a regular teen volunteer program in the past was a lack of staff time and resources. Managing this blog does take up a good deal of my time, but I can do a lot of the work while multitasking– editing and scheduling blog posts while I’m on the Reference Desk, for example. So far, this project is working out really well for the library and the teens.

Shamelessly Self-Promote Yourself at PC Sweeney’s Blog (added 6/1): “[Y]ou are all doing awesome things and you need to promote it far more than you do already. Because the deal is, that by promoting yourselves and your work as a librarian to the world (and to the profession) you are actually helping librarianship as a whole. This is largely due to the fact that according the PEW Internet Research Center and OCLC the number one most effective technique for building library support is creating a relationship with your community as a librarian. Even if you disagree with that, you still help the profession with you self-promotion because we will all learn about the awesome things you’re doing and get better at our jobs. So, while I completely support this #30awesome project, I really hope that it is the the spark of a fire of the shameless promotion of librarians, libraries, and everything that we do. Now, go out and tell people that you’re awesome and why.

Being Awesome Together here at Tea Cozy (added 6/1): “In looking at all the 30 Awesome posts, I like how we are not alone. And together, we are inspiring each other, and being inspired. Yes, we are awesome; and we’re letting each other know we are awesome; and we’re letting others in the library world know.

Leaning in to Librarianship at Shhh! No Running In the Library (added 6/1): “I would suggest, from personal and observed experience, that many of these librarians would take greater time and interest in promoting their own work if they were encouraged by those they work for first. We (those of us active on Twitter or Tumblr or ThinkTank or whatever) can yell across the Internet as much as we like for but the only ones who will shout back have already taken up on the hashtag next to us. Now we’re just yelling in one another’s ears which no one appreciates. AT LAST TO MY POINT. While we must, MUST advocate for ourselves and our libraries, leaning in is not solely the responsibility of those who have been leaning away. We all must lean in. Lean in to your team, to your coworkers. Especially lean in to those you supervise.”

Diversity In Collection Development at Future Librarian Superhero (added 6/1): “I don’t care how homogeneous, remote, or just plain ‘white’ your community is–you should be thinking about diversity in your collections, AND in the books you present during storytime. One of the biggest parts of our mission as librarians is to provide access. Access to technology, to ideas, to education and, more broadly, access to the amazing world we live in. We provide windows into other lives, other ways of living. And we also have a responsibility to show kids how much the same life is–how much we all have in common. It’s our responsibility to reflect the diverse world back to our library users. Diversity in collection development is so much more than just books about Civil Rights, or “What it’s like to live in X country.” Those books are very very important. But if the only picture books we have that feature people of color are history books, historical fiction, or books about other countries we are doing a huge disservice to the people we serve.”

The No Library Whining Zone Experiment at The Librarian Kate (added 6/1): “Us librarians also complain about our libraries. That’s also a fact of life – and it’s hard not to complain when the news is not always in our favor. Budget cuts, lack of jobs for talented new grads, e-books, conference costs, awards and the deserving (or sometimes undeserving) – even our day-to-day struggles.  People complaint to vent, or to motivate themselves to get things done. Right after I returned from the ACRL conference and holiday with my family in Florida, I noticed that complaining reached critical mass.  It had moved from constructive discussion to whining – which is good for stress relief but not good in the long term when one kvetches about the same problems over and over with no productive solution in sight. That kind of environment makes it hard for those of us who want to have constructive dialogue difficult. With all this in mind (along with a refreshed and revived belief in my profession), I proposed the No Library Whining Zone, a social experiment to see if we could just shut out the negativity about libraries and librarianship for a mere 24 hours in social media.”

Show Me The Awesome at The Unpretentious Librarian (added 6/1): “ Here’s a glimpse of a menagerie of awesomeness in a middle school library. . . . With the collaboration of my IT coach, we hosted TechnoFridays during every faculty meeting. My principal allowed us 5-10 minutes during meetings to highlight new and innovative technology ideas. The response was overwhelming with teachers from all curricular areas trying new and exciting projects. One of my favorite AWESOME programs that came out of TechnoFriday was the Battle of the Math projects.

Awesome Never Retires at Library Currants (added 6/1): “Awesome is often in the eye of the beholder. The ordinary of librarianship involves sharing, promoting, training, educating, assisting, helping, encouraging, collaborating, communicating, connecting, organising, publishing and contributing amongst many other things. To many people in our communities these are indeed awesome skills. I have moved from full time work into retirement. What a wonderful preparation for retirement teacher-librarianship gave me. Many of my new friends think some of my skills are “awesome.” I am delighted these skills provide me with the tools for an active retirement. So to all those awesome librarians out there approaching retirement, never retire your “awesome”  the community needs you.

Math at the Library at Sonder Books (added 6/1): “Before I got my MLS, my first Master’s degree was in Math. I taught college-level math for 10 years. And though I love math, the teaching job never felt like a calling, the way librarianship does. Part of what I love about the library? We don’t have to test anyone! No, at the library, we’re all about learning, and we assist learning for people who want to learn. What’s more, I’ve always believed there’s no need whatsoever to “make” Math fun. Math *IS* fun! And we get to show that to kids! So, what are some awesome ways recently I’ve gotten to show people how much fun Math is at the library?”

Stepping Outside the SRP Box at Book Blather (added 6/1): “For my library, June 1st has always been the start date for SRP, but the more I thought about it the more I realized it didn’t work for my teens. Well, let me rephrase that. It didn’t work well for teens I saw during my school visits. I was spending my entire month of May getting the teens hyped at the schools and expecting them to keep that excitement for 2 – 4 weeks. When in reality, the hype for most only lasted, if lucky, until that evening. So, I did something kind of scary, and made my start date May 1st. You have no idea how many crazy looks I’ve gotten when I’ve said that. And it’s almost always followed by a WHY or ARE YOU SERIOUS? Yes to both, but I thought…what do I really have to lose? My program is online so it wouldn’t be adding any additional work to my co-workers since teens only have to go to staff members to claim prizes. It meant that I had to have the level prizes (candy/book/lock-in) ready to go on May 1st, but that was a piece of cake. (Programming still doesn’t start until June since I’m in the schools so much.) On the other hand, it would mean I could tell teens they could sign up when they went home; in some cases I would even be able to sign them up on the spot. For me, those small pros outweighed any cons I could thing of.  Plus, if I failed, I failed. It would mean I would just go back to June 1st next year. Nothing would have been wasted except a bit of my time.

Motivational Poster Time at Storytime Katie (added 6/1): “My last tips for increasing your storytime attendance all wound up sounding like motivational posters…so enjoy clicking the links to see what I’m talking about!

The Library In Awesome & Unexpected Places at Laura in the Library (added 6/1): “I discovered that as much as I enjoy facilitating programs that take place in the library, surrounded by our books and other media, I really really like popping up in funky or unorthodox places to bring library activities to the community at times outside of the regular library routine. I have two “pop-up” programs taking place this summer in my capacity as Assistant Director for a small public library in Wisconsin. One is a library table at our town’s Saturday farmers market. We provide supplies for a hands-on project that kids (and grown-ups!) can do, along with a bookmark with “related titles” of books and other media from our collection. Another activity (one that we’re trying for the first time in our community) is a partnership with our local swimming pool! Every week I’ll be at the pool under an umbrella (armed with a big floppy sunhat) for “Break with a Book” – a short (20 min.) story time that coincides with the afternoon adult swim time.

30 Awesome Things I’ve Done for #30Awesome at PC Sweeney (added 6/1): “So, I can’t let my last blog entry to go without my own example of self-promotion. There are links to most of the stuff for more information, otherwise there is a summary of what I’ve done below the title. So, here are 30 Things I’ve Done that I’m proud of for #30awesome.”

Who’s Awesome? I Am at Emily’s Notebook (added 6/1): “See, librarian bloggers from all over are overcoming their self-conscious tendencies to avoid shameless self-promotion, and have been posting about how awesome they are, and I LOVE IT. I mean, why shouldn’t we toot our own horns now and then??? Check out some of the posts celebrating the awesome people out there in LibraryLand and the awesome things they’re working on. As for me, I’ve never been shy about promoting myself and my organization. We do cool stuff. I do cool stuff. And you’ve probably heard it all before. So, in honor of this great #30awesome love fest,  let me boil my awesomeness down into the first 30 things I could think of that make me awesome. I’m sure the list could go on and on. . . .I have a vision for myself, my profession, and the world in general I lie about my age… adding 15 years to my age! I’m a librarian, and librarians are awesome.”

Why I Became the Meme Librarian at amandab! (added 6/1): “As our culture becomes more and more digital, as “internet culture” collides and assimilates with “mainstream culture,” there are so many things that will define our generation that won’t always exist. Sometimes, I feel like Yearbook Girl from Can’t Hardly Wait, trying to hold on to as many minute memories as I can before they’re gone. And yes, there’s a possibility that no one will ever care again about some Tumblr meme that lasted about two weeks before everyone forgot about it but it’s a piece of the puzzle. These memes are facets of what makes our generation who we are. How internet communities create, interact and react to things and each other says a lot about who we’ve become as humans. It leads to questions about the types of people that are attracted to certain social media outlets: who are they, what are they seeking, and why do they find it in this spot? The spread of a meme can still be mind-boggling to me at times. What makes something catch on and what does it say about its participants?”

Double or Nothing: Increasing Your Library’s Number of Twitter Followers at MissCybrarian (added 6/1): “The “awesome” in this post refers to the increased amount of followers on our library’s Twitter account.   I work in an academic library in a small, semi-rural area where bandwidth coverage can sometimes be less than reliable. So, Twitter didn’t really “hit” here until 1-2 years ago. But, between July 17, 2012 and February 13, 2013 we put in some extra effort and went from 209 to over 418  Twitter followers.  More importantly, the second “half” of our followers has a much larger proportion of students, staff, faculty, and university organizations than the second first half did, so we are reaching more of our target audience. Here’s how it happened.

The awesome in libraries and service-learning…and yes, the students see me in my jammies at Service Learning Llibrarian (added 6/1): “I was really frustrated with my information literacy course and needed to make some changes.  I had several faculty friends who taught service-learning courses, and it suddenly occurred to me…could I integrate service-learning in my own course?  Service-learning requires that service be integrated into the curriculum of the course to support the learning objectives (it isn’t a stand-alone day of volunteerism, for example).  Why can’t my students do research for a nonprofit as I teach them the process?  The research would be the service.  Wouldn’t this give their work more meaning?  My theory was that they would be much more motivated to turn in a research portfolio to a real, living organization that will actually put it to use, rather than just turning it in to me (who will grade it and then…what?  It gets recycled?).”

Learning Stuff is TOO Cool at Amy’s Library of ROCK (added 6/1): “The one thing I’m MOST proud about? Making reading look exciting. At some point somebody decided that reading isn’t cool. Well, sure, to some people it isn’t. But not to ALL people. And it’s not going to keep me from trying to CONVINCE the doubters that there’s something for them in books. A lot of my coworkers, though? Not so much. My original director discouraged us from using words like “learning” and even “reading” in our program fliers: “We don’t want to give the impression that the library is a BORING place,” she said. And Summer Reading Club. OH DEAR. We use the abbreviation “SRC” whenever possible, because OUR Summer Reading Club is about FUN! Really, we have an amazing summer program, unique experiences at a minimal price. But we may have the only “Summer Reading Club” in the world that doesn’t actually incorporate independent reading. No reading goals or time charts or book clubs or reviews. . . .  I’M a novel reader. But I know not everyone is. And it’s shocking how many people still insist that “reading” means “reading novels,” and if you don’t do that then it doesn’t count. My old director wanted to change perceptions about the library, that it was more than JUST books. I wanted to change perceptions about the books themselves. Books aren’t there just for the bookworms and the school-report-writers. There’s a book for everyone!

Show Me The Awesome Manga + Anime Group at dpgreen.net (added 6/1): “When I landed my job as Children’s and Youth Librarian, part of my brief was to place a particular emphasis on engaging teens. Historically our library service hadn’t kicked too many goals in this area, but we’re not alone in that. It’s not always the case, but teens can be a tough demographic to get into libraries and using library services. However, I’m stoked to report I have finally had a break-through! Introducing… My libraries’ Manga + Anime Group, or MAG as we affectionately call it, is a common interest group for 12-17 year olds.

Show Me The Awesome at American Indians in Children’s Literature (added 6/1): “The storms, in their own way, mark what I try to do with American Indians in Children’s Literature, and with my lectures and publications. Storms uproot trees. They change the landscape. In significant ways, the landscape of children’s literature changes organically, as society changes. There are exceptions, of course, and that’s what is at the heart of my work. I’ve been working in children’s literature since the early 1990s. I started publishing American Indians in Children’s Literature (AICL) in 2006. It has steadily garnered a reputation as the place that teachers and librarians can go for help in learning how to discern the good from the bad in the ways that American Indians are portrayed in children’s books. People who sit on award committees and major authors, too, write to me. So do editors at the children’s literature review journals, and, editors at major publishing houses. . . . Years ago, illustrator James Ransome was asked (at a conference at the Cooperative Center for Children’s Books at the University of Wisconsin) why he hadn’t illustrated any books about American Indians. He replied that he ‘hadn’t held their babies.” I’ve written about his remark several times because it beautifully captures so much. Lot of people write about (or illustrate) American Indians without having held our babies. They end up giving us the superficial or the artificial. They mean well, but, we don’t need superficial or artificial, either. We need the awesomes. Yeah–I know–’awesomes’ isn’t a legitimate word, but I’m using it anyway. We have some awesomes. I’ve written about them on AICL, but we need more awesomes. Lots more, so that we can change the landscape.”

Being On – “Text” 24/7 at Kate Nesi (added 6/2): “I received a text at 3:21am from an English teacher begging me to teach her students how to use Prezi and how to use video editing software today. What did I respond with? Absolutely. I will teach them, and if the library is booked, I’ll go to your classroom. This isn’t the first time I’ve gotten a desperate text for day-of help. Many of the teachers have my cell number so they can text me for help, answer questions, or quick support for lessons. I would love to implement a chat system like we did at another library, because it was far easier to provide services immediately than through email which staff may not always have open. Of course one could always use the phone, but it appears text is a little less intrusive while still getting the quick response you need. Texting is also available during after-hours when teachers are going a little crazy planning their next move and need extra help.”

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About Elizabeth Burns

Looking for a place to talk about young adult books? Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and let's chat. I am a New Jersey librarian. My opinions do not reflect those of my employer, SLJ, YALSA, or anyone else. On Twitter I'm @LizB; my email is lizzy.burns@gmail.com.

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  1. [...] Me The Awesome!” was started by Kelly, Sophie, and Liz to give bloggers a chance to step up and discuss something special or that they want to promote. [...]

  2. [...] month I’m excited about Show Me the Awesome: 30 Days of Self-Promotion, hosted by Liz Burns, Kelly Jensen, and Sophie Brookover. The Awesome artwork is by John [...]

  3. [...] participating in the amazing series, “Show Me the Awesome!” that was started by Kelly, Liz, & Sophie. For more AWESOME, please check over at their sites for the official link-up. Also, [...]

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